Friday, 13 March 2009

Is there any value in my culture or heritage or religious traditions or...?

August 7, 2008

I was feeling bad yesterday… so many questions about native spirituality etc – on top of my wonderings about the “traditions” I was brought up with, and how much of that really had value, and wasn’t just “religious” and “legalism” etc… that’s the trouble when I watch native people (and even people of other cultures) with so much pride in and connection to their cultural heritage – and I feel like I have so little of value, I feel so disconnected…

maybe that is why I spent time reading those letters yesterday (written by my parents, grandparents, other forbearers) and decided they really are worth saving – I do appreciate my “spiritual heritage” – only I wish I could figure out what parts of it are really of value or whatever – the faithfulness to the Lord, the prayers for me and my family, the encouragement of my parents, my grandpa’s prayers, etc – for sure… even camp meetings, etc –

but what of some of the rest??? – the “guilt” trips (??), the fear of “backsliding”- even the “liturgical traditions,” the “denominational distinctives” etc – I do see the “conquest” thing that native writer talks about – but I also doubt that native spirituality was all that – well “pure” … because I’ve seen the curses, fear, and such in native religions I’ve personally had some experience with. But on the other hand, I can’t see that those aspects mean that everything related to it is evil…. Lord?? (just as many of the “religious” aspects of Christianity throughout its history have been wrong… but that doesn’t make it totally wrong… ummm??? Lord???)

Psalm 12:2 They speak falsehood (emptiness) to one another With flattering lip and a double heart they speak… 6 The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver… refined seven times.

Lord God, please, I want Your words, Your truth…
(sorry, I should have prayed that yesterday… or even the night before… but my heart was so heavy, I was so worried about my thoughts… wondering if the words of the native writers were “wrong” or if really we (Christians, Europeans, etc) had been totally “wrong” all along… when really the question is – does Your Word stand?

(I believe it does… and yes, there is a lot of man’s words and thoughts in Your Scriptures… the thing is to recognize which is which… Your were gradually revealing Yourself… until Jesus came – You came – so His Word, His life, is Your Word! What comes before is a mixture … and the thing is to compare it to Your Word, Jesus, and Your life…

The book of Job is such a great example! His “counselors” spoke fine “words of the elders” but they were wrong… Job was more right, but as righteous as he was, there were things he stumbled on, was wrong about, too… but other things in that book are totally Words from You! But I think that is true all the way through the Old Testament – I do wonder sometimes about some things that were attributed to You (although I also “know” the “explanations”), but overall, I am coming to see more and more of You in and among it all… Thank You… that IS Your Spirit teaching and guiding me, isn’t it?

I do wonder about some things in the New Testament – of course there is the reference to the “religiosity” of the Jewish leaders, and heretical beliefs (like early gnosticism), but those are clearly pointed out as wrong – and some of Paul’s teaching – seems to me a bit (quite a bit) “off” compared to Your Words (but maybe he was just "working out" how to live "in the culture but not of the culture" so to speak?) – and we know that sometimes even Peter was wrong (like about not eating with the uncircumcised Gentiles when the circumcised Jews came along)… of course, lots of times those “awkward” passages of Paul’s are put down to “current culture/ customs” or even to “later additions”…

It really does make a difference if one believes the gospels and/or epistles were actually writer later and/or changes made later… (but I doubt that!)

And for sure the “church fathers” of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th centuries did have their own cultural/ pagan “glasses” on – perspectives – and goodness knows! So do we – BIG TIME! And so did Luther and Calvin, and even the translators of the good old KJV (and all the other versions and paraphrases…

We really do need You!!! We really do need Your Spirit!

Psalm 13:5-6 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness (Yes!). My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation (Yes!). I will sing to the Lord (Yes!) Because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Yes!!!)

How true! My life, my journey, my experience with You does assure me that You are true!! (whatever men may say… or my “mind” may wonder about! Because it is true – I do not doubt You – despite all the side things that I wonder about! You are God! And You DO make Yourself known to those who really want to know You, follow You, be in relationship with You, love You! Thank You!

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